I think the biggest hurdle for anyone reading The Zennist is understanding how much emphasis I put on achieving a gnosis of pure Mind or if you like, the unborn Mind. Stepping back a little, it is a watershed moment in one’s spiritual life (as strange as it sounds) to realize that one has to realize some kind of unconditioned substance such as pure Mind. All else—all practices up to that point go to the back burner in our spiritual career. Our new practice is to facilitate this quest to find one’s pure Mind in the jungle of the everyday mind of birth and death.
Realizing the need to realize was an eye-opener for me. It is also a moment when we can distinguish between, intellectually, sitting on our arses imagining we have gold, so to speak, then waking up to the fact that we have to do the hard work of looking for gold because we don't have any gold. Part of seated meditation is doing practices for the sake of practice which can easily become soporific. It's not about having gnosis of pure Mind.
This realization is not a call to a superior kind of moral behavior so much as it is a do or die matter. On the one hand, we know we don’t know pure Mind, and on the other, we can’t afford to sit in our easy chair patting ourself on the back for having a great intellect imagining we’ve seen it. We simply haven’t. And now we know it which is, actually, a good thing (we’re being honest).
Whatever we’ve done in the past no longer counts if it does not help to facilitate realizing pure Mind. If we’ve done a lot of seated meditation in the past, then we have to find a more profound way to do it, one that might help us to see pure Mind. Just sitting is ineffective. We are just sitting a living corpse on a pillow—that’s all. How does this physical action work to help us to see pure Mind which is beyond the physical? Hopefully, our quest makes us focus on our everyday mind of birth and death because that is where we are going to find pure Mind. It’s there just like the blue sky above us. But if we’ve been looking at the ground or simply what is in front of us, we’ve missed looking in a different way—seeing the open, clear sky.